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RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced $65,000 in Virginia Main Street program grant funding for five projects in the towns of Bedford and Blackstone, and the cities of Fredericksburg, Franklin and Winchester. In the last five years, designated Main Street communities have sparked more than $159 million in private investment in their districts. This has resulted in a net collective gain of 4,400 jobs across Virginia’s Main Street downtown districts.
“One of our best strategies for driving economic growth in Virginia’s localities is to focus revitalization around historic Main Street communities,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Virginia’s Main Streets Program is a central part of our plan for growing small business ecosystems and homegrown entrepreneurship, as well as bolstering tourism for our towns and cities. We will continue to invest in the Commonwealth’s historic downtown neighborhoods, which play a vital role in local job growth and revitalization, as we build a new Virginia economy.”
The Downtown Investment Grants, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), are for design and economic vitality projects targeting areas of specific need in historic downtown neighborhoods located in Virginia Main Street communities. Grants are available to designated Main Street organizations to accelerate the economic revitalization of their downtown districts by helping implement innovative strategies, plans and programs that create an environment for increased private investment.
“Since the inception of the Virginia Main Street program, the communities served have generated more than $716 million in private investments and created almost 16,000 jobs,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “Through these grants, we are continuing to partner with our downtowns and Main Street organizations to create vibrant communities that are attracting residents and businesses, and driving tourism.”
In 1985, DHCD adopted the Virginia Main Street program to help downtown districts across the Commonwealth avoid economic decline and possible demolition. This unique program works to re-energize economic development of downtown communities, while using their cultural assets and character. This development is further accomplished by pooling the resources of local civic and business leaders who are determined to bring Main Street communities back to life. The innovative Four-Point Approach program uses design, promotion, economic vitality and organization to reach its goal to help localities build better communities. The Virginia Main Street program is comprised of 29 designated communities and a host of Commercial Affiliate Districts throughout Virginia.